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Immigration superbody bill defended

First Posted 08:26:00 01/07/2010

MANILA, Philippines?The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said that once the Philippine Immigration and Naturalization Act of 2009 (Pina) bill is enacted into law, more foreign visitors and investors will come to the Philippines.

?Contrary to reports, the bill, if enacted, will usher in the influx of more foreign visitors and investors in the country,? lawyer Norman Tansingco, BI chief of staff said. He said this is so because the new bill would institutionalize policies and procedures that would make it easier for foreigners to visit or do business in the country.

Tansingco was reacting to opposition to the bill expressed by Justice Secretary and concurrent Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera, who currently has administrative control over the bureau. The DoJ chief said the bill is unconstitutional and would put the country?s security at risk.

The House approved the bill on third reading and the Senate, on second reading.

The immigration official cited a provision in the proposed law which declares that Philippine immigration structures, policies, rules and regulations shall be ?designed, operated, and administered in such a manner as to promote the domestic and international interest of the Philippines.?

The same bill provides that the new immigration agency shall ?administer the entry and admission of visitors into the Philippines for the purpose of fostering investments, trade and commerce, cultural and scientific activities, tourism, and international understanding.?

He pointed out that the proposed law, as approved, does not repeal the administrative power of the Special Committee on Naturalization (SCN) to naturalize foreigners and transfer such power to the bureau.

SCN is composed of the Office of the Solicitor General, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the National Security Adviser.

Tansingco said the position paper of the government?s lawyer was for the old version of the measure, making the opposition immaterial.

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